Hello to you, Ashland.

My name is Danny Penza, and I am your new sports reporter here at the Ashland Daily Tidings.

I come to you from Humboldt County, where the college and high school sports landscape made my seven-and-a-half years at the Eureka Times-Standard about enjoyable as a young journalist could have asked for in his first post-college job.

My hope is that Ashland and the surrounding areas like high school and college sports as much as where I’ve spent the last major chunk of my life. Because if that’s the case, then we’re going to get along just fine.

I have come to Southern Oregon with the same hopes for a sports section that I left Northern California — and that’s to make it the best it possibility can be.

Here’s the thing: In my last three years at the Times-Standard, I won some awards. I like the awards I’ve received from the California Newspaper Publishers Association. Most importantly, I’ve gotten used to setting a high bar for myself

That’s where the Tidings comes in.

My main areas of concentration will be Ashland High School and Southern Oregon University. That’s the given seeing as this is a newspaper that serves Ashland and only Ashland.

The good thing is that’s exactly what I did during my time in Eureka.

I’ve covered big games at the college level. I’ve covered big games at the high school level. (More than I can even count on my fingers and toes, probably.)

I love being a part of a community newspaper and having the ability to tell stories about student-athletes on the college and high school level. I want to make them more than jersey numbers and statistics on a page or website while continuing the quality work that former Tidings sports writer Joe Zavala has done for so many years before I arrived.

(Don’t worry, though. Joe isn’t going too far since he’s now on the Mail Tribune sports staff. You can also read his farewell to the Tidings in today's edition.)

I say that because not so long ago I was one of those high school kids who picked up the newspaper the day after a game and searched for the box scores.

It was a virtual routine I got myself into doing during my teenage years down in Oakland. No matter if it was the morning after a soccer or baseball game, the main task after breakfast was to pick up a copy of the Contra Costa Times or Oakland Tribune and find the high school box scores.

If our score was there — which it usually was because our coaches called just about every game into the paper — it was a thrill. If there was a short blurb and a mention of my name in some form of high school roundup, then my day was made.

I’ve carried that same kind of vision throughout my still-relatively young journalism career, and I know that being in a small community with a newspaper of its own provides that on a regular basis.

I’m looking forward to finding out what other advantages there are to be had here in Ashland.

I’m looking forward to getting to know Ashland, Medford and the surrounding areas as I now call Oregon my home.

I’m looking forward to getting to know the athletes that I will be writing about on a regular basis.

And most of all, I’m just happy to be in a place that is also passionate about its sports.

So, with all that said, let’s have some fun, Ashland.

Danny Penza is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 541-776-4483 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.